The Southern Bookseller Review 12/28/21

The Southern Bookseller Review Newsletter for the week of December 28, 2021

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December 28, 2021

Read These Next! January Books with Buzz

Read This Next!

Read This Next!, the seasonal list which highlights forthcoming books receiving exceptional Southern bookseller buzz, is now a monthly event! Southern indie booksellers have selected five books, their hand-sell favorites for the upcoming month, as January 2022 Read This Next titles.

Each of the selected titles has the enthusiastic support of southern booksellers, making Read This Next! the ultimate "You’ve got to read this!" reading list for avid readers looking to discover great new books.

The Maid by Nita Prose

The Maid is a cozy mystery the way cozies should be written. It is beautifully written, extremely entertaining, has a great mystery, twists you don’t see coming and most of all one of the most endearing and interesting characters you will ever meet. –Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction in Greenville, South Carolina

How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

When I started reading Sequoia Nagamatsu’s How High We Go in the Dark, I would have hesitated to call it hopeful, but now I think that’s a perfect description. This novel reads like a series of connected short stories, and part of the joy of this book is finding the threads that connect these characters. –Elizabeth Hardin, The Snail on the Wall in Huntsville, Alabama

Lost & Found by Kathryn Schulz

An exquisite view into the inextricable relationship among love, grief, and hope, Kathryn Schulz’s Lost & Found is a masterpiece. It’s been a while since I’ve underlined so many sentences. –Janet Geddis, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

Stacy Willingham’s debut novel is an intense psychological thriller to the very end. The brilliance of the twists and turns is in the use of the main character’s narrative point of view. Entertaining, energetic, and unforgettable. –Faith Park-Dodge, Page 158 Books in Wake Forest, North Carolina

Ain’t Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin

A beautiful and unconventional book capturing what the year 2020 felt like to the youngest child of a fictional Black American family, told in three long sentences and a notebook’s worth of art. Haunting and gorgeous. –Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Read This Now | Read This Next | The Bookseller Directory

Read This Now!

Recommended by Southern indies…

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult


Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult
Ballantine / November 2021

More Reviews from The Country Bookshop

Diana is going to the Galapagos with her doctor boyfriend when the pandemic hits and he tells her to go on without him. Stuck on the island, her life takes a different turn, and then…she wakes up with Covid in a NYC hospital. Both experiences, one real, one not, change her. And she discovers it doesn’t really matter what happened to you in the past, it’s what you do with the rest of your life. This book brings the pandemic up close and personal and yet gives a great perspective to it. I loved it!

Reviewed by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, North Carolina

Bookseller Buzz


Spotlight on: Mouth to Mouth by Antoine Wilson


Antoine Wilson

"Recently, while moving several piles of books (31 titles) from the floor to another place on the floor to make space for my office chair, I experienced a moment of clarity," writes Antoine Wilson in an essay on Lit Hub which ran over the summer, "I felt like I had arrived at the end of a manic episode and was confronting the aftermath."

Wilson had discovered tsundoku — the Japanese word for the habit of buying books and letting them pile up unread. The "piling up" is key — as every book lover with a teetering TBR stack knows. Tsundoku is a description, a philosophy, a lifestyle. Or, as Wilson regards it, "a get-out-of-jail-free card."

Right now, booksellers are adding Wilson’s new novel to their own book piles. But Mouth to Mouth does not seem destined to tsundoku-existence in piles of unread books. "A compact tour-de-force," "you won’t be able to put it down," "absolutely deserves to be read in one sitting" — the story has been inviting comparisons to Patricia Highsmith at her most unsettling. Picking up the book is easy. Putting it back down may be much much harder. Leaving it unfinished once you start? All but impossible.

Mouth to Mouth

What booksellers are saying about Mouth to Mouth

  • Warning: once starting the first page of this gripping novel, you won’t be able to put it down. Breathlessly, you will want to find answers even while you secretly wish this tale will never end. ― Nancy Pierce from Bookmiser, Inc. in Marietta, GA
    Buy from Bookmiser

  • A beach, an art gallery, a ski slope, a first class lounge and a wild ride of an ending combine to make a damn good story that absolutely deserves to be read in one sitting. I absolutely devoured this tale that really puts the novel back in novels. ―Angie Tally from The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines, NC
    Buy from The Country Bookshop

  • As a Patricia Highsmith superfan, I’m always drawn to a sleek novel about the harrowing secrets and misdeeds of the upper class–I’m pleased to say that Antoine Wilson delivers. His latest, Mouth To Mouth , is a compact tour-de-force featuring an intoxicating antagonist with a level of self-delusion that would make Highsmith proud.   ―Lindsay Lynch from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN
    Buy from Parnassus Books

  • Mouth To Mouth is the kind of book you should read in one sitting. When our narrator meets a former college classmate in an airport, he finds himself listening to the tale of how his classmate came to be a prominent and wealthy art dealer — a tale that soon begins to sound more like a confession. This book is unassumingly clever, with an unsettling ending that will stick with you for a while. ―Kate Storhoff from Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, NC
    Buy from Bookmarks

About Antoine Wilson

Antoine Wilson is the author of the novels Panorama City and The Interloper. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, StoryQuarterly, Best New American Voices, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications, and he is a contributing editor of A Public Space. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and recipient of a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellowship from the University of Wisconsin, he lives in Los Angeles.

The Nation on No Map by William C. Anderson


The Nation on No Map by William C. Anderson
AK Press / November 2021

More Reviews from Square Books

In this inviting, direct manifesto, William C. Anderson outlines the influences and differentiating points about Black anarchism, outlines its necessity, and offers rebuttals to naysayers across the political spectrum. The Nation on No Map is concise, yet powerful and perfect reading if one is looking to charter further ideological horizons.

Reviewed by Conor Hultman, Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

The Last She by H. J. Nelson


The Last She by H. J. Nelson
Wattpad Books / December 2021

More Reviews from Story on the Square

Arabella is the last girl on earth, well as far as she knows. A terrible virus wiped out many children and women, and no one’s sure why. When her father tells her to run “back to the beginning” she tries to make her way home only to be captured by the infuriating and handsome Kaden. While she might not like him, she’ll have to ally with him to find what her father wanted her to know. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel! While this book was a quick and easy read, I really enjoyed the plot and find myself looking forward to the next one!

Reviewed by Katlin Kerrison, Story on the Square in McDonough, Georgia

King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair


King of Battle and Blood by Scarlett St. Clair
Bloom Books / November 2021

More Reviews from Bookmarks

This book is exactly everything I’ve been craving from a vampire book. Been starving for, even, because I’ve been digging for at least a year now for a vampire book that scratches every itch the vampire academy series gave me many years ago as a young teen, but one that I can really appreciate as an adult. Isolde and Adrian are the most perfect, incredibly vicious pairing of human and vampire, and those twists and turns of the plot just set them up so well. I love that Isolde is heavyset and muscular and confident in her body and sexuality, while Adrian is just so very aware of the monstrosity of his nature, and does not care that people are scared of him. And the fact that Scarlett does queernorm society so well is just, chefs kiss. I felt so utterly comfortable while reading this book. It might sound strange, but reading King of Battle and Blood felt like coming home. A very bloody, very sexy home, but a home nonetheless.

Reviewed by Caitlyn Vanorder, Bookmarks in Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates by Cheryl Klein


Hamsters Make Terrible Roommates by Cheryl Klein
Dial Books / November 2021

More Reviews from Avid Bookshop

This should be required reading for any and all roommates (from siblings to college freshmen)! Featuring an odd diametrically opposed hamster duo, this vibrantly illustrated, darkly funny tale will leave even the crankiest readers holding in giggles as they learn all about the art of compromise.

Reviewed by Julie Jarema, Avid Bookshop in Athens, Georgia

Read This Next!

Books on the horizon: Forthcoming favorites from Southern indies…

Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan


Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
Grove Press / November 2021

More Reviews from Fountain Bookstore

A Fall 2021 Read This Next! Title

This tiny gem is destined to be a Christmas classic. Think in terms O’Henry’s The Gift of the Magi. Alice Munro and Raymond Carver also come to mind. Based on actual events in Irish history only recently brought to light, the story follows Bill Furlong, a coal merchant, husband, and father to five daughters, and his discovery of a coverup by the church. The town is largely controlled by the church in this 1985 setting, but he still risks his livelihood, reputation, and marriage to right a wrong. Readers who enjoy stories of characters confronting their pasts, embracing hope, and being quiet heroes will find much to love here. When I first read it I thought: “good story”. But I have picked it up over and over again, read and reread it, marveling at its depth charge emotional impact.

Reviewed by Kelly Justice from Fountain Bookstore in Richmond, VA

Southern Bestsellers

What’s popular this week with Southern Readers.

Small Things Like These Gastro Obscura Dune
All About Love Change Sings

[ See the full list ]

sbr shelf

Parting Thought

“All books are either dreams or swords,
You can cut, or you can drug, with words. ”

– Amy Lowell

Publisher: The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance /
Editor: Nicki Leone /
Advertising: Linda-Marie Barrett /
The Southern Bookseller Review is a project of the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, in support of independent bookstores in the South | SIBA | 51 Pleasant Ridge Drive | Asheville, NC 28805

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